Hardwood Installation – Questions to Ask
Your hardwood is more than a simple floor covering. It's a long term investment. When selecting a dealer and installer, it’s important to ask questions up front to ensure you receive the right flooring for your home and to avoid any warranty issues down the road. Below is a list of several key questions you should ask your installer and/or retailer. These questions will tell you a bit more about what to expect and how you can prepare.
What type of hardwood is best for my home?
A number of factors such as what sort of subfloor you may have and how much foot traffic your new flooring will experience will play a key role in your flooring choice. Different species of wood (oak, hickory, maple, etc.) have different design and performance characteristics, and choosing the right flooring for your home can mean all the difference in the lifespan of your hardwood. An experienced dealer or installer should be able to assist you in choosing the correct flooring type for your home.
Do you charge for an in-home estimate, and if so, will this fee apply to the cost of purchase?
An in-home estimate is important in determining what type of flooring you can install as well as the total amount you will need to purchase. Some dealers/installers will offer this service for free while others may charge a small fee and then apply it to the total cost of the job.
Are you insured and certified to install my flooring?
It’s important to ensure you installer is certified in order to be confident that the proper guidelines are followed. Work performed by uncertified installers could potentially void your warranty and lead to issues down the road. It is also important to make sure your installer carries insurance and will assume liability in the case of any unrelated damage they might potentially cause while the work is performed.
Can you provide references and/or testimonials from past customers, both SATISFIED and UNSATISFIED?
Sometimes the best measurement of how well a company performs can be found in how well or poorly they performed on previous jobs. If you decide to check their references, make sure you ask why they are satisfied or unsatisfied with an installers work.
What can you tell me about moisture values in my home/area and how will this affect my hardwood?
This is an extremely important question as moisture can cause your wood to warp, curve or cup. You should discuss how your installer plans to deal with any moisture issues and confirm how this could impact your flooring in the future.
Can you provide specific details about my installation including; how long it will take to complete, the total costs involved and how will you ensure that the installation will leave my home in good shape when you are finished?
Though this may not necessarily impact the quality of your installation; however, having a clear understanding of your installer’s process and expectations up front can reduce any confusion and unexpected charges when the job’s complete. Some key points to cover during this discussion are:
What are the specifics and conditions of your installation warranty?
- Will your installer dispose of the old flooring and if so, is this free or will there be a charge?
- Who will be responsible for moving the furniture, electronics, bookshelves, lamps, etc
- Will your installer undercut any doors and door jambs that may be impacted by the height differences between your old floor and your new floor?
- Can you install around electrical appliances, or will you need to contact an electrician for this?
It is important to understand the differences between your installer’s warranty and the warranty provided by Shaw. If you have problems with your flooring down the road, you should be clear on who will be responsible for correcting the issue.
Can you provide and install matching molding and trim?
Regardless of whether you select solid, engineered or Shaw’s EPIC™ hardwood, your installation will require a small space around the perimeter of the floor to allow the floor to expand and contract as the temperature changes throughout the year. To cover this space and finish the room your installer will need to use molding and trim that matches your hardwood flooring.
How will you handle any subfloor issues?
One of the key factors in a successful flooring installation is a properly prepared subfloor. Certain hardwood products are more forgiving than others; however, in the end a severely damaged subfloor will need to be repaired prior to the installation of your hardwood. It is important to know if your installer has the ability to repair this sort of damage before the installation begins.